From the very first Discover Main Street Fun Ride, to striping of bike lanes on the western end of Main Street, a key component of rebirth of Clarence’s Main Street has always been creating a bike-friendly space. Now, five years after the Town, community groups and the Clarence Chamber of Commerce came together to focus on a new plan for Main Street, signs of this bike-friendly initiative are everywhere.
The Clarence Slow Rolls (a collaboration between Discover Main Street and Slow Roll Buffalo) began in 2017, drawing over 500 cyclists to its inaugural ride hosted by Murphy Brown’s Craft Beer Empourium (9500 Main Street).
The series returns for 2019, with newly announced dates at West Shore Brewing Company (10995 Main Street) on June 14th and a return to Murphy Brown’s on July 12th.
The Clarence Slow Rolls are “Pedal Parties,” free and inclusive group rides that tour the Town’s Main Street and surrounding areas at a “party pace” of roughly 10-12 miles per hour – a moderate rate of speed well within the reach of most cyclists. Orange-shirted “Squad” volunteers help keep the ride together and the group stops periodically to ensure everyone stays safe and in touch with the main group.
The relationship between Slow Roll and suburban rides in Clarence and elsewhere has grown so strong that Slow Roll Buffalo now gives its weekend rides equal billing with its Monday night city series in the City of Buffalo. The full calendar can be found below.
An equally ambitious project is playing out on a different stage at the Clarence Hollow Farmers’ Market (10717 Main Street). The Market, placed at the intersection of Main Street and the West Shore Bike Trail, has long billed itself “New York’s only Rails-to-Trails Farmers Market.”
In 2019, the Market will play host to free Saturday morning group bike rides departing at 9am every week from June 1st through the end of September.
The weekly group rides and a bike-friendly market booth are the brainchild of cycling advocate and Discover Main Street volunteer Melany Arrison, and will receive support from local bike shop Tom’s Pro Bike. Besides the rides, Arrison sees the booth as an opportunity for outreach by area bike-advocacy groups, bike shops and an place to grow a “bike-swap” culture among area riders.
As group rides grow in popularity, the Town of Clarence continues to support improvements to roadways to support the increased bike traffic and help make the community increasingly bike-friendly. The addition of bike lanes to Main Street, and as a component of the planned turning land addition to Sheridan Drive, shows the Town recognizes that cycling is a key to a healthy, happy community. And with rides drawing both Clarence residents and cyclists from other areas to Main Street, it’s clear that bike-friendly is business-friendly too.